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Halfords tries to ride to Evans Cycles' rescue

By Mark Kleinman, City editor
Halfords, the UK's biggest bikes retailer, is trying to ride to the rescue of Evans Cycles, the rival chain which is racing to agree a takeover that would secure its future.
Sky News has learnt that Halfords, which is listed on the London stock market, was among a number of parties which tabled indicative offers for Evans earlier this week.
Other bidders included turnaround investors, with Evans requiring more than €10m in fresh capital to see it through the next few months of trading.The urgent auction of Evans, which was founded nearly a century ago, underlines the risk of another prominent retailer being consigned to the list of names which have been plunged into crisis this year amid a toxic high street trading environment.Like many high street retailers, Evans has slipped into the red because of a combination of rising costs and challenging trading conditions.The chain‎ trades from just over 60 stores across the UK and traces its history to 1921, when the first FW Evans Cycles shop opened in south-east London.The company, which is owned by the private equity firm ECI Partners, is being advised by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), while AlixPartners is advising the retailer's lenders.It has been backed by a number of investment firms, including Active Private Equity‎, which sold it to ECi in 2015 for an undisclosed sum.
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